The temporal characteristics of the BOLD response in sensorimotor and auditory cortices were measured in subjects performing finger tapping while listening to metronome pacing tones. A repeated trial paradigm was used with stimulus durations of 167 ms to 16 s and intertrial times of 30 s. Both cortical systems were found to be nonlinear in that the response to a long stimulus could not be predicted by convolving the 1-s response with a rectangular function. In the short-time regime, the amplitude of the response varied only slowly with stimulus duration. It was found that this character was predicted with a modification to Buxton's balloon model. Wiener deconvolution was used to deblur the response to concatenated short episodes of finger tapping at different temporal separations and at rates from 1 to 4 Hz. While the measured response curves were distorted by overlap between the individual episodes, the deconvolved response at each rate was found to agree well with separate scans at each of the individual rates. Thus, although the impulse response cannot predict the response to fully overlapping stimuli, linear deconvolution is effective when the stimuli are separated by at least 4 s. The deconvolution filter must be measured for each subject using a short-stimulus paradigm. It is concluded that deconvolution may be effective in diminishing the hemodynamically imposed temporal blurring and may have potential applications in quantitating responses in eventrelated fMRI.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.